A stye is the most common type of bump which can develop on the eyelid, close to the eyelashes. The red lump is usually sore and often has a yellow spot in the middle. The medical term is hordeolum and it is sometimes referred to as an infected eyelid cyst.
A stye is usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria can be found on your skin and also in your nose and throat.
Most people have this type of bacteria in their bodies and although most of the time the bacteria does not cause a problem it can sometimes result in minor skin infections like styes. For example, the bacteria can easily be transferred if you rub your nose and then touch your eyes.
Styes are also contagious so it important to keep your hands and eyes clean at all time. This will not only stop you passing the infection on to others but also developing more than one stye at a time.
If you have blepharitis (inflammation on the edge of your eyelid) you are also more likely to develop styes.
A sore red lump on or in the eyelid is the main symptom of a stye. It could also have a small yellow spot in the middle. You may also find that your eyes are red and in some cases they become very watery.
A stye usually gets better within a few days or weeks without any treatment. If you have a yellow spot in the middle of your stye, you may find that it bursts and releases some pus. However, it is extremely important that you never try to burst the stye yourself.
A warm compress can often help relieve the pain and also stimulate the stye to release some pus, allowing it to heal more quickly.
If you find that your stye is not getting better or your eyelid is swollen and red, it is best to consult your GP. The infection may have spread and you could require antibiotics or for the stye to be drained.